Dina Asher-Smith in the 200m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Beijing, China

Report: women’s 200m heats – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

A fairly predictable first round of the women’s 200m was saved at the last minute by Dina Asher-Smith.

The 19-year-old Briton, last year’s world junior champion at 100m, ran a personal best of 22.22 in the seventh and final heat of the round; the fastest first-round clocking in World Championships history.

Up until then, it had been largely a case of who could ease down the most ostentatiously while winning in something around 22.5-22.8. The draw for most of the heats pitted one of the favoured finalists against rivals a couple of metres or more slower on 2015 performances.

Asher-Smith turned that around however with her run from lane two, the inner-most lane used for the 200m heats. She was quickly off the blocks, ran a sustained bend and kept the foot down all the way up the straight to finish almost three metres to the good over Jamaica’s Sherone Simpson, 22.52, and Ivet Lalova-Collio of Bulgaria, 22.54.

These three took the automatic qualifying places for Thursday’s semi-finals with Anna Kielbasinska of Poland, who was fourth in 22.95, also through as one of the next three fastest.

Asher-Smith had previously run 22.30 behind Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix at the Birmingham IAAF Diamond League meeting. But Felix is running the 400m only here, which brings Asher-Smith right into medal calculations in an open race.

Candyce McGrone of the USA, who at 22.09 is the fastest entrant in the event on 2015 performances, won the first heat in 22.45, ahead of Mujinga Kambundji of Switzerland and Viktoriya Zyabkina of Kazakhstan.

Heat two went to Marie Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast in 22.73. She defeated US champion Jenna Prandini, 22.95, and Justine Palframan of South Africa, 23.09.

Tarmoh won heat three in 22.79 from Gloria Hooper of Italy and Canada’s Kimberly Hyacinthe. Maria Belimpasaki of Greece also advanced in fourth place. Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria was a non-starter.

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson, one of the emerging talents in the event this year, had an easy win in heat five, easing down almost to a walk to cross the line in 22.78 ahead of Britain’s Bianca Williams and Canada’s Khamica Bingham. Maja Mihalinec of Slovenia also got through with a personal best of 23.05 in fourth.

Despite finishing in the lane to her outside, two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown was through in heat five in 22.79, ahead of Semoy Hackett of Trinidad and Tobago and Margaret Adeoye of Great Britain.

The event favourite, 100m silver medallist Dafne Schippers from the Netherlands, won heat six comfortably in 22.58 from Rosangela Santos of Brazil and Reyare Thomas of Trinidad and Tobago.

The three semi-finals will be contests on Thursday night with the final on Friday.

Len Johnson for the IAAF